A Boulder, Colorado grief therapist who can contact the dead investigates the murder of a man who was pushed from the edge of the Grand Canyon.
When park rangers find Adam’s crumpled body 300 feet below the rim of the Grand Canyon, they think he was one more careless tourist. But back home in Boulder, Colorado, his grief-stricken wife Sharon is sure he was murdered. She won’t rest until she knows why he was so troubled in the month before he died. Over the objections of her prominent father, she turns to grief therapist Cleo Sims, who runs a project that re-unites people with dead loved ones.
Despite threats and warnings, Cleo takes on the challenge to help Sharon contact Adam and solve the mystery of his death. She gets extra encouragement from Tyler, a surfer-dude spirit who visits her from beyond, offers cryptic advice, and pushes her to “ride the wave” with Sharon. In this hip mountain community where high tech meets new age, their investigation involves suspects whose activities range from traditional to cutting-edge to over-the-rainbow. Tension mounts as Cleo’s digging uncovers a sinister underbelly of scams, fraud and deceit. Her professional reputation and her life are on the line as she struggles to sort reality from illusion, good from evil, and truth from deception.
Too Near the Edge is a character-driven mystery with a paranormal twist, a humorous tone, and a whimsical heroine who grapples with tough questions about love, reality, ethics and trust.
"I enjoyed this book immensely. It might be the first or near first in a new genre-the psychic cosy. Lynn Osterkamp has combined elements of her professional experience and the community of Boulder, Colorado into a nicely crafted plot. The result is a very readable mystery that kept me wondering who really pushed Adam off the edge of the Grand Canyon right up to the point where the culprit was unmasked.
Several things work well in this book. First, the author weaves the neighborhoods and surrounding natural features of Boulder into the story in ways that made me feel like I was there or at least could easily visualize them. That's a rare gift and certainly one that bodes well for future books. The variety of characters also works. There are numerous players, but they all have a logical fit in the story. Nobody seems like a throw-in. While their emotions edge close to 'over-the-top' at times, they never cross that invisible line that starts turning them into caricatures.
The psychic aspect works because the author has done her homework, particularly in terms of educating the reader regarding how Cleo, the protagonist, got started in that aspect of her grief therapy practice. Having spent 27 years in the mental health field, I can attest to the idiosyncrasies of psychologists and Lynn captures some of that very nicely in this story. It is also worth noting that in the acknowledgements, the author credits her local Sisters in Crime group with helpful criticism and feedback. This group is one of the best things to happen to women writers and demonstrates the author's desire to get things right before publication.
I'm happy to add this to the Hartland Library and can think of several patrons that will enjoy reading it as much as I have. A winner for sure."
Reviewed by John R. Clark
"Sharon Meyer’s husband Adam is killed in a fall at the Grand Canyon and the authorities rule it an accident or suicide. But Sharon suspects foul play and is introduced to Cleo Sims, a Grief Counselor in Boulder, Colorado. Cleo also runs a project called the Contact Project to help people who she feels can benefit from it to try to contact loved ones who have died. Cleo quickly becomes drawn into to the problem of what happened to Sharon’s husband. She also has to deal with Donald Waycroft, a psychology professor who is Sharon’s father and who is vehemently opposed to Sharon having anything to do with Cleo and her “wacko” Contact Project and he threatens to ruin Cleo’s reputation.
Also, added to the mix is a very attractive man, Erik, who seems to be interested in Sharon and/or Cleo and is possibly a con man, Sharon’s ex-boy friend, Joel who is the father of Sharon’s son Nathan who reappears on the scene after Adam’s death, and a doctor, Dr. Ahmed, who may be involved in drug trafficking (Cleo’s mother is in a nursing home under Dr. Ahmed’s care). Besides dealing with Sharon’s problems, Cleo is also dealing with troubles in relationship with her boyfriend, Pablo, a police detective and problems with her mother in the nursing home. Cleo also has a dead surfer dude named Tyler that appears to her to give her hints to help her solve the crime. But don’t let this paranormal visitor throw you off the book. Tyler adds a little more mystery, but he doesn’t interfere with the main story line of the book.
Osterkamp stirs all of these elements together for a very satisfying read. And with several possible candidates for who might have done Adam in, if he was done in, the reader is kept guessing until the final pages of the story. An added plus in the novel is the descriptions of the various locations in and around Boulder. Boulder residents, besides enjoying the mystery itself, will enjoy reading about their town and non-Boulder residents may want to make a list of places to visit in Boulder when they get the chance to visit.
I would recommend “Too Near the Edge” for any mystery lover. Osterkamp kept me engaged throughout the book as I tried to figure out what was going to happen next. I was a little concerned that the paranormal aspect of the book might be a little too far out, but that was not the case. The surfer dude Tyler added to the book instead of detracting from it. The book is a very enjoyable read as the reader tries to figure out the mystery. And again, an added bonus to the book was all the descriptions of the great locations for recreation and food and shopping in Boulder. A good mystery story, characters that I made a connection with and locations that I wanted to visit, what else can you ask for from a book?"
Reviewed by Joe Graham
"Too Near The Edge is set in present day Boulder Colorado and is told in the first person by a character named Cleo, short for Cleopatra. Her profession as a Medium and Grief Counselor brings her into touchy situations but she never thought it would lead her into a world of intrigue, mystery and murder. Cleo is asked to help a grief stricken single mother who lost her husband Adam in a tragic accident but her client, Sharon, thinks her husband could have been murdered. Using Cleo’s techniques at helping her clients to contact their loved ones, Sharon gets clues from beyond the grave to help solve her husband’s mystery. Cleo has problems of her own when Sharon’s life starts to interfere with her livelihood, which forces Cleo to take a stand for her beliefs and come to the aid of her client.
The prominent characters in the novel move the story along to build suspense. Cleo gets visited from time to time by Tyler, a surfer apparition who gives her clues in slang surfer language that she has to decipher. Her “boyfriend” Pablo thwarts her profession while Erik, a fitness trainer and nutritionist, tries to pawn his herbal business on her. Dr Waycroft, Sharon’s father, is an overbearing, self-righteous behavioral psychologist who ends up making Cleo’s life unbearable if she insists on standing in his way. The reader will be able to identify with many of these characters in the book as well as the minor characters who play a role in the flow of the story.
Too Near The Edge gets a hold of you from the first page and you can’t seem to put the book down. The author makes you keep reading to see what Cleo is engaged in next. The reader gets carried away by Cleo’s actions and ends up rooting for her drive to do the right thing and hope she doesn’t blunder into any trouble. Lynn Osterkamp makes the reader frown at Pablo’s insensitivity towards Cleo’s situation but you end up breathing a sigh of relief when he comes through for her.
The interesting thing about this novel is that it appears to be three mysteries entangled into one. The reader must figure out what happened to Adam as well as experience the sequence the characters have to go through to figure out Adam’s demise. The third mystery lies with Dr. Ahmed, the physician in charge at the retirement home in which Cleo’s grandmother resides, and what he’s involved in.
This exciting novel by Lynn Osterkamp is recommended to anyone who loves mysteries. Throw in humor with a paranormal twist and you have an adventure on your hands."
Reviewed by Jennifer Andrew
Want to review or comment on this
Click here to login!
Need a FREE Reader Membership?
Click here for your Membership!